The rise of a meaningful economy, opportunities and challenges related to mainstreaming impact investments, climate finance, the sustainable development goals and tools to measure, rate an screen impact investments and to make impact investing sustainable were some of the topics addressed at ALFI’s 2017 Impact Investing Conference held in the premises of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce on 26 April.The conference was organised by ALFI in partnership with LuxFLAG, the GIIN and e-MFP.

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

Christina “CJ” Juhasz addressed the issue of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, considered to be crucial for progressing across all the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

In her capacity as the Chief Investment Officer of Women’s World Banking Asset Management, the investment arm of Women’s World Banking (WWB), a global network of microfinance institutions committed to ensuring that poor women have access to financial services, Christina Juhasz perfectly knows the legal, social and economic barriers that still have to be removed to meet this target.

When managing the organisation’s Capital Partners Fund, she directed equity investment into WBB’s network members and other women-focused microfinance institutions in order to provide them with responsible growth capital. As Chief Investment Officer, Ms. Juhasz raised over $30 million from institutional and high-net-worth investors to launch the WWB Isis Fund, the first and only women-focused microfinance private equity fund.

Out of the Box Speech

Out of the Box Speech

In a powerful speech, Thai entrepreneur Arvind Narula, founder, owner and CEO of Urmatt Group, the world’s leading supplier of organic jasmine rice, delivered the proof that fair trade and organic operations can be scalable, impactful and profitable.

From the very beginning of his initiative to launch a high-value rice business in 1982, Arvind Narula partnered with the poorest farmers and workers and committed to adding value to the local communities. Very soon afterwards, he made the switch from conventional to 100% organic farming, which proved to make his operations even more profitable.

Since then, Arvind’s rice business has grown into a fully integrated global agricultural organization that provides organic rice, chia, coconut and other agricultural products around the world while, at the same time, empowering more than 1,000 farmer families.

Stories from the field

Stories from the field

Too big for microfinance institutions and too small to be of any interest for local banks, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging countries often lack proper access to finance. However, SMEs play an important role in driving employment.

Providing financing opportunities to small companies with 5 to100 employees can therefore have huge social impact in terms of new jobs and poverty reduction.

Peter Heijen, CEO at Lend a Hand, became aware of this issue during a trip through Bangladesh and decided to bring investors and small companies in need of financing together. Lend a hand, the Netherlands-based crowdfunding platform he founded in 2011, provides individuals the opportunity to lend to successful SMEs of their choice in emerging countries, starting with amounts as small as 50 euros.

In our “Stories from the field” panel, Peter Heijen presented this real-life initiative and demonstrated that innovative financial services can both achieve tangible social impact and constitute an excellent investment opportunity at the same time.

It is a Myth

It is a Myth

Alison Fort, Acting CEO and Managing Director Europe of Toniic, demonstrated that it is a myth that impact investors aren’t as concerned about financial returns.

The findings of a multi-year study of more than 50 impact investment portfolios conducted by Toniic, the global action community for impact investors, show that investors’ primary motivation is to invest with measurable impact and that their financial motivation is generally the same as the one of traditional investors: to preserve capital and generate a financial return for the asset owner.

Today, it is perfectly possible to construct 100% impact portfolios, and the available range of impact investments is much wider than previously understood. Geography is no barrier, nor are particular causes or themes. Further to this, investing one’s capital for impact alongside financial returns is not just the domain of wealthy millennials.

Alison explained why intentionality is the key ingredient of impact investments and how impact intentionality can be applied across all asset classes available to traditional investors.

Climate Finance Opportunities

Climate Finance Opportunities

Can a positive environmental, social and governance impact be synergetic with strong performance?

Senior Fund Partner Jochen Wermuth and his partners at Wermuth Asset Management GmbH prove it can. With their family office and investment advisory firm, they attract capital and contribute to move trillions of euros into resource-efficient companies and renewable power needed to stop climate change.

Since February, they have an important “ally”: On the occasion of Pope Francis’ 80th birthday, Jochen Wermuth and The Mobility House, a start-up specialised in innovative charging and energy storage solutions he is invested in, provided the spiritual leader with an electric car that he will use for one year as part of a pilot project to promote a clean-energy future, laying the foundations for an emission-free mobility state. The Vatican seeks indeed to become the first state in the world to be fully powered by renewable energy.

Jochen Wermuth will make an introductory speech and moderate the panel discussion on Climate Finance Opportunities at ALFI’s 2017 Impact Investing Conference.

Water Resources

Water Resources

  • ~650 million people lack access to improved drinking water
  • 3,6 million die every year due to water-related diseases
  • 50% more water will be required by 2050 to address the feeding needs of 9 billion people

These are only a few figures illustrating that the criticality of the challenges we have been facing over the last decades will increase dramatically in the coming 30 years. Problems with water resources are already and will increasingly be causes of major wars and massive migration.

Learn how Waterpreneurs strives to connect established local entrepreneurs that have sustainable solutions for access to safe water with impact investors, who can finance the scaling-up of their activities in order to realise the organisation’s ambitious vision: Access to safe affordable water and sanitation for all.

Speakers

Isabelle Cabie Global Head of Responsible Development Candriam Luxembourg
Lachlan Cameron Manager Energy Finance Finance in Motion
Richard Cook Chief Operating Officer Social Stock Exchange
Jean-Philippe de Schrevel Founder and Managing Partner Bamboo Capital Partners
Ravi Fernando Chairman/CEO INSEAD France
Albert Frendo Chief Credit Business, Development Officer Bank of Valletta p.l.c
Uli Grabenwarter Deputy Director Equity Investments, European Investment Fund
Jean-Florent Helfre Head of Business Development FBS Trucost

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